Every cook and chef will tell you that kitchen essentials are a must. These essentials can vary from the types of pans and pots, bakeware, and baking tools to the must-haves of small kitchen appliances.
Caribbean food is full of flavors. Every kitchen requires organization and planning. Any well-equipped Caribbean kitchen will have many pots, pans, and tools for cooking different foods. Whether living alone, just getting married, or living with family, the necessary tools, gadgets, pots, pans, and utensils are the core of a functional kitchen.
Every Caribbean kitchen is different. However, many types of cooking are similar; therefore, the same pans that can be used to cook rice and beans can be used to cook pasta with vodka. with new technology, modernization, and cultural differences, most kitchens will have similarities. Whether with pans, pots, or small appliances, the primary action is cooking delicious meals. We will attend to point out a few of the necessary kitchen essentials in this article.
If you’re looking to cook Caribbean food at home, you will need a few kitchen essentials; investing in a few basic kitchen essentials can make cooking more enjoyable and efficient. You can create delicious and healthy meals for your family and friends with the right tools and equipment.
What is Cooking Caribbean Food about?
In the Caribbean, many meals are prepared fresh daily. However, lifestyle challenges force many people to cook a small amount of food daily. As a result, leftovers are not common in those households. Now that goes only for current Islanders living on the islands.
If living overseas, leftovers are more common in many homes because of proper refrigeration and not cooking daily. So, the right pots, pans, utensils, and tools are necessary to run a home kitchen.
10 Kitchen Essentials for Caribbean Cuisine
- Mortar and Pestle
- Mixing Bowls
- A set of Utensils, including a Wooden Spoon
- Cutting Board
- Set of knives
- Measuring cups and Measuring spoons
Tips for Using Kitchen Essentials
- In most Caribbean kitchens, you will find a mortar and pestle to grind spices and herbs. Mortars and pestles are used to grind spices into a powder and crush fresh herbs and other food ingredients. There are several types of mortar and pestle. In the Caribbean, the choice of tools depends on culture and cuisine. The two images below are mortars and pestles from the Caribbean. One is for decor, and the other is for use in the kitchen. A decorative mortar and pestle make a great addition to your kitchen decor. They also come in different sizes, and the design is different on all of them. Carved or painted, you will have choices.
2) Mixing bowls come in various sizes. A set of three different sizes is perfect for everyday use. In many Caribbean households, aluminum mixing bowls are usually used for cooking, not baking. They are used to clean and marinate meat, poultry, and seafood. Plastic mixing bowls are used for washing vegetables. Glass mixing bowls are used for baking. You can buy different sizes for convenience.
3) A set of utensils, including a wooden spoon, are needed for cooking, baking, and spatulas. Wooden spoons are gentle on food and won’t scratch nonstick surfaces. You will find these common utensils:
- The use of a wooden spoon is common in Caribbean cuisine. For example, when cooking Lalo, a wooden spoon is preferable to maintain the texture of the stew. In addition, it is often said that having the right spoon will help certain vegetables retain their shape and texture.
- Regular spoons, including ladles and spatulas, are essentials in every kitchen. Wooden spoons to stir grains, dishes, and stew (legumes) are common. Ladles are not only used for soup; they are also used for bean purees.
- Slotted spoons remove food from the liquid without getting any liquid in the dish. They also remove fried food from oil if a spider or skimmer is not included in the set.
4) Cutting Board makes it easy to chop vegetables and meat without mess.
5) Knives can be used for everything from chopping vegetables to cutting and slicing meat.
6) Grater(s) – Graters are great for shredding cheese, zesting citrus fruits, and grating vegetables
7) Baking Tools: spatulas for baking and icing cake are part of the kitchen essentials, including a whisk. In many instances, instead of using a whisk, you will find many home cooks prefer using a wooden spoon to mix cake batter when they do have a mixer. The wooden spoon is also great for mixing Haitian Cremas or Kremas.
8) Measuring cups and spoons – The cups and spoons are essential for getting the right measurements when cooking.
9) Bakeware is also a kitchen essential. Few people will have an extensive array of bakeware: only the basic round, square, and rectangular cake pans: baking sheets, and baking dishes for macaroni and cheese.
10) The most common cookware is made with stainless steel or cast iron. A set of sturdy cookware is usually ideal to have. Everyday cookware should include at least two saucepans, stockpots, and frying pans.
- Cast iron pots are great for cooking stews, soups, and other dishes that require long, slow cooking.
- A heavy-bottom saucepan is usually used for cooking rice. It is ideal for cooking rice unless you have a Dutch oven. However, cookware with thin bottom often burns your food and are ideals for boiling water.
- A stockpot would be for beans purees, and another large stockpot for stews. Beans are a staple in Caribbean cuisine. A stockpot is the most useful item for many purposes.
- A Dutch oven or a large saucepan is also preferred for meat stews. Dutch oven pans are made with cast iron or stainless steel and are ideal for stews and legumes.
Besides your regular pots and pans, heavy-bottom cookware is a must in all Caribbean kitchens. Large pots and pans are also necessary for large gatherings—one large pan for rice and another for stew, poultry, meat, or seafood.
Another essential item in a Caribbean kitchen that is slowly disappearing because of blenders and food processors is the food mill. A food mill is mostly used when making bean puree. A food mill is another alternative if you don’t want to use a blender. Very easy to use and practical.
The must haves kitchen tools and gadgets.
- With all the tools, gadgets, pots, and pans, we should not forget pressure cookers. Many types of meat, such as goat and conch, take a long time to cook. Pressure cookers help speed up the cooking process.
- A colander, strainer, and even a sieve are perfect for multiple uses, such as straining pasta or washing vegetables.
- A can opener is one of the essential tools and a must-have in your kitchen.
Other cooking tools, pots, pans, and bakeware will depend on your cooking style. Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, East Indian, French, Cajun, Amerindian, Chinese, and Creole. Every Caribbean kitchen will have similarities and differences.
With these essential kitchen tools, you can cook your favorite Caribbean dishes at home.
So what are you waiting for? Start cooking!
Originally published on October 7, 2018. Updated